Lebanese banks to close indefinitely after series of detentions


The Lebanese Association of Banks will remain closed indefinitely due to the ongoing “risk” to employees and customers, the Lebanese Bankers Association announced on Wednesday.

Shutdown followed by a a series of contingencies nationwide in the past month, with at least five separate banks held by depositors last Friday alone in an attempt to recover frozen savings in the banking system.

Millions of Lebanese citizens have their accounts locked after the country plunges in financial crisis In October 2019. With the local currency losing 90% of its value, more than three-quarters of the population has been pushed into poverty and most cannot afford basic necessities.

In August, one Armed man stormed a bank in the capital Beirut and threatened to kill the hostage and himself if the bank wouldn’t allow him to withdraw money from his frozen account. Claiming that he needed money to pay for his father’s medical expenses, Bassam Sheikh Hussein surrendered to the police after the bank gave him some savings.

Cheered by groups outside the bank, Hussein was hailed as a National hero by many people on social media. An anonymous security source speculated to CNN that Hussein’s methods could have been copied by others.

Last Wednesday, a woman took $20,000 from her account after break into the bank armed with what she later claimed was a toy gun to fund her sister’s cancer treatment, according to state news.

At the end of the day, an armed man entered a bank in the mountain city of Aley and retrieved some of his stranded savings before handing it over to the authorities.

The glass door of a bank was broken after a woman barged in on September 14.

Lebanese army soldiers secure a facility near a bank in Beirut after a depositor stormed the branch demanding access to his money.

Five banks were organized on Friday, including one in the southern city of Ghazieh, where an armed man – who poured petrol on the bank floor – threatened to burn down the building if without access to his money, state news agency NNA reported.

He obtained $19,200 and transferred the money to a person waiting for him outside the branch, before turning himself over to authorities, the NNA said.

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